Stress is known as the “killer disease” and in humans it can lead to an increased risk of terminal issues such as heart attack or stroke.
Stress is known as the “killer disease” and in humans it can lead to an increased risk of terminal issues such as heart attack or stroke. But now research conducted at UTSA and published in the latest issue of Plants indicates that stress in the plant kingdom is far less destructive to plants than it is to humans.
According to biology researchers, plants that are attacked immediately release compounds known as “green leaf volatiles” or GLVs, which prime themselves but also other plants nearby. These compounds successfully defend the plant while only temporarily inhibiting the plant's growth.
“When we, humans, get sick, we also get weak,” states Jurgen Engelberth, associate professor in the UTSA Department of Biology. “We can’t both be physically active and fight a disease at the same time. We’ve also observed this same phenomenon in plants."
The difference, however, is that this defense by GLVs costs the plant far less in recovery time and growth inhibition than equivalent stresses would in humans. Consequently, plants can fight off attacks then continue to grow at an acceptable rate, with none or little of the negative consequences observed in humans.
Read more at University of Texas at San Antonio
Image: Professor Engelberth at UTSA studies plant biology. (Credit: Courtesy of UTSA)